SHAH ALAM: While many are saying traditional mom and pop stores will soon become history, PKNS Real Estate Sdn Bhd (PREC) is working hard to help the conventional retailers to start their online shops to generate more business.
PREC CEO Fakru Radzi Ab Ghani sees an urgent need to help the merchants in their shopping malls to get an online presence while continuing to operate their offline businesses.
“We had the idea of setting up the virtual platform, called Bazaar Lokal, a year ago but we have sped up the implementation during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period as we realised that this could benefit these conventional SME retailers,” he tells EdgeProp.my.
Despite there being many online shopping platforms available for consumers in the market, Fakru reckons that there is a need for neighbourhood malls operators to have their own marketplace to serve their customers.
With the majority of shoppers being loyal customers who visit the same malls to get their necessities, the niche is there. By having an online platform, it enables them to continue getting the goods they need from familiar merchants in the mall, he adds.
PREC is an investment arm and asset management company for Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS). It currently manages Kompleks PKNS Shah Alam and SACC Mall in Shah Alam, as well as Kompleks PKNS Bangi. Other properties managed by the company include Menara Worldwide in Bukit Bintang and Menara PKNS in Petaling Jaya.
Launched in June, there are close to 100 merchants (out of 500 merchants in PREC managed malls) registered at the Bazaar Lokal web-based shopping platform and showcases over 300 locally made products such as clothes, food and beverage, home appliances, health and beauty and supplements.
There is zero cost for the merchants to participate in this platform, but there will be a fee charged for each transaction. The rate of the transaction fees range between 5% and 12%, depending on the profit margin of the goods.
Fakru says that the inception of Bazaar Lokal was not meant to compete with the well-established online shopping platforms, but to complement the merchants’ current offline business.
“Undeniably, the Covid-19 pandemic is a turning point for us [the mall operator and mall retailers]. Going online is a must for business survival as when customers could not visit you in a physical shop, they could still shop with you online. It is crucial to helping the conventional retail business owners to get an online presence while maintaining a physical shop,” he explains.
For the other 400 merchants who have still not participated in the Bazaar Lokal platform, he explains that the main obstacle is the conventional retailers’ lack of IT knowledge, including setting up their own emails or online accounts to market their products.
To help them get “connected”, PREC has organised hand-holding sessions explaining the online platform mechanism and teaching the interested merchants on how to set up their online shop as well as taking orders. Currently there are over 70 merchants participating in their hand-holding sessions.
On top of this, to complement the online and offline businesses, PREC also engaged with logistic service providers to offer goods delivering service for the merchants who are participating with Bazaar Lokal.
Currently, Bazaar Lokal is only limited to PREC-managed shopping malls, but Fakru plans to open up to other local retailers who are interested in marketing their products online.
“While having a physical store as a place to showcase their products and offering customer service, the online platform enables them to open up their business horizon to expand to other areas or maybe go global, in the future,” he says.
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